BMG Research has published its latest Public Perception of the Economy (PPE) indicators ahead of George Osborne’s budget statement this month.

Up-sum…

The data reveals that, since the Autumn Statement, more people have continued to feel that their household finances are getting worse rather than better. The results also show that the public are feeling less optimistic about the coming 12 months, particularly on the national economy, where optimism has collapsed since December. Confidence in Osborne’s ability to manage the national economy has also declined rapidly, particularly from Conservative supporters.

 

A breakdown of the results…

Personal financial performance

Personal financial performance, perceptions of how people’s household finances have changed over the previous 12 months, has fallen steadily since December from -8% to -16%. Among those in higher social grades (ABC1) personal finance performance is down 12 points from 3% to –9%.

 

Personal financial optimism

Personal financial optimism, the public’s view of how their household finances will change in the coming 12 months, had increased steadily since October but fell sharply last month from 0% to -4%.

 

National economic performance

National economic performance, the public’s view of national economic performance over the last 12 months, has fallen by 10 points since December alone, from +6% to -4%. Among Conservative supporters economic performance has fallen by 11 points for the same period, while for those in higher social grades (ABC1) it falls even further, by 13 points, from +14% to just +1%.

 

National economic optimism

National economic optimism, the public’s view of how the national economy will change in the coming 12 months, saw a sharp decline between December and January from +2% to -4% and continued to fall to -5% in February. Among Conservative supporters, economic optimism has fallen significantly, by 15 points for the same period from +48% to +33%.

 

Confidence in the Chancellor…

Confidence in the Chancellor and Shadow Chancellor

On the eve of Osborne’s eighth budget, the results show that an increasing number of Britons have lost confidence in the Chancellor’s ability to manage the national economy, with net scores down 11 points since October to -32%. Osborne’s net economic approval rating has also fallen considerably among a number of key electoral groups, but perhaps most notably, among Conservative supporters where confidence is down 11 points on December, from +55% to +44%.

However, while Osborne’s economic approval has declined in recent months, the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonell, still registers economic approval that is consistently lower. Confidence in McDonnell is down 5 points since October from -33% to -38%.

 

BMG Research Director, Dr Michael Turner said “it comes as no surprise that the continued slide in economic optimism has taken place alongside a weakening pound and a major global market focus on the Brexit threat to the EU and the future of the UK. However, our polling suggests that the sustained slide in economic optimism may have a deeper undertone than first meets the eye.

Whether or not the global ‘cocktail of economic risks’ has anything to do with the perceived weakening of the national economy by the public, an increasing number of fingers appear to be pointing at Osborne at this time. Major falls in economic optimism will be a worry for Osborne, as those traditionally associated with strong support for the Conservatives lose confidence in him to steer the economy. Results suggest that key drivers behind the continued fall in economic optimism come principally from Conservatives and, more generally, from those in higher social grades.”

 

An article based on some of these results, released by the Evening Standard, can be found here.

Data tables containing a breakdown of the results can be found here.

For further details about this poll, and any other results from our polling series, please feel free to get in touch by email or phone.

 

Lauren Harris – Research Executive

@laurenmharris_

@BMGResearch

polling@bmgresearch.co.uk

0121 333 6006